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UCAT Scoring and Scaling: How does it work? Part 2

The blog “UCAT Scoring and Scaling: How does it work? Part 1” explained how the scoring and scaling of UCAT works.

In this blog we will discuss what all that means for you in practice.

Negative marking

There is no negative marking in UCAT. Why? There is a lot of educational research and literature on this point, but in summary, if there is negative marking, risk averse students will not answer as many UCAT questions as those who are not risk averse. It is in the test designers’ interest that you answer all the UCAT questions. This is because they have greater certainty in assessing the ability of a student, for example, who answers all the UCAT questions and gets 50% of them right, than of the ability of the student who answers the FIRST 50% of UCAT questions and leaves the LAST 50% blank.

Does that mean you should answer the last 10 UCAT questions randomly in the last 5 seconds? No. Even in paper and pencil tests, the software mentioned in Part 1 of this blog can calculate the probability that you got the answer through random guessing. It is even easier to predict this in computer based tests, because the program can take into account the time you took to answer each UCAT question.

Practical implications

Practical implications for you, as a UCAT test taker, are:

• If UCAT prep companies show you a correlation between the number of UCAT questions you need to get right (raw score) and your UCAT scaled score or percentile, steer well clear. They have no idea about UCAT testing or scoring.
• Avoid leaving UCAT questions unanswered, but equally, avoid random guessing. Instead, you should try to make intelligent or educated guesses. How to do so will be discussed in detail, with examples, in MedEntry UCAT workshops.
• Avoid giving yourself a strict set time to answer each UCAT question. You need to spend more time on harder UCAT questions, and answer easier questions in a shorter amount of time. Instead, set yourself time limits for various parts of the UCAT subtest (for example, how many questions should you have answered when a quarter or half of the time has elapsed for the UCAT subtest?). This will become automatic after you have completed the UCAT practice exams provided by MedEntry
• If there are very difficult or unusual UCAT questions, don’t stress: they may be ‘trial questions’.

More details and strategies are provided in the MedEntry UCAT workshops.

How does MedEntry know all this information?

Because we have been in the aptitude testing space for over 20 years: more than any other UCAT prep company in Australia, NZ, UK or Ireland. Aptitude testing for medical entry in the UK is only 13 years old, and unfortunately UCAT preparation providers in the UK do not understand how UCAT scoring and scaling works.

MedEntry has a team of psychometricians, academics and IT staff who design, write, vet and score UCAT questions, taking into account ‘Content, Construct and Criterion Validity’. Our staff are members of organisations such as the International Test Commission, International Society for Intelligence Research and Psychometric Society, and have published educational research articles. No other UCAT preparation company has the resources to do this.

You may have numerous questions regarding the UCAT scoring and scaling process even after reading this blog (which is only a brief summary). All your questions will be answered in the MedEntry UCAT workshops.

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